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One of the aspects I enjoy most about my role at LifeWay is the opportunity to interact with Southern Baptist pastors and church members across the country. Whenever I speak at conferences or provide training, I come away with profound gratitude for the brothers and sisters in our Convention.


NAMB Photo By Susan Whitley

In previous decades, some might have seen the SBC as irrelevant to broader evangelicalism. But today the SBC includes some of the largest seminaries in the world, employs a stunning international mission force, and oversees the world’s largest Christian resource provider. More recently, broader evangelical institutions have tapped Southern Baptists to lead them (David Dockery at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Greg Thornbury at The King’s College, Thomas White at Cedarville, etc.).

What about younger Southern Baptists? What does the future of the SBC look like?

The following are some observations about the younger generation of Southern Baptists. I admit that my thoughts here are anecdotal, based on hundreds of conversations over the years, which come together to form an impression. Feel free to disagree if your overall impression is different. But here are a few things I’ve noticed.

1. Younger Southern Baptists have chastened expectations regarding political engagement.

It’s common to hear the story of young evangelicals fleeing conservative churches and embracing center-left politics. I don’t see this happening among young Southern Baptist pastors. What I do see is less emphasis on bringing change through political engagement and more emphasis on dealing pastorally with the implications of a secularizing society.

When I talk with older Southern Baptists about recent cultural developments, I get the impression that many of them see mobilization of Christian voters as the best way to effect change. When I talk with younger Southern Baptists, I get the impression that the landscape has shifted to the point they expect to be a minority. Therefore, the strategy becomes more about preserving space for Christian morality and less about enshrining our views in law. This is a generalization, but I think there’s truth here: Older Southern Baptists are more likely to see the U.S. as Israel. Younger Southern Baptists are more likely to see the U.S. as Babylon. That’s a significant shift, and it leads to a different tone.

2. Younger Southern Baptists tend to be Reformed-ish. 

Not all young Southern Baptists are Calvinists, by any means, but many of their preaching heroes are, and so young guys tend to settle under the Reformed umbrella by default. I say they’re Reformed-ish because when pressed, I find that many don’t subscribe to all of Calvinism’s particular tenets and doctrines. Like all Southern Baptists, the younger generation is on a spectrum with regards to Calvinism, with perhaps more who are comfortable with that label today than in the past.

It’s interesting to note that young Southern Baptists who reject Reformed theology are in agreement with their Calvinist counterparts that theological depth and biblical exposition are essential to the health of the church, and that our teaching and preaching should be centered on the gospel. They tell me how much they benefit from the vast sermon resources available from John Piper, John Macarthur, and other pastors even if they don’t agree with all aspects of their soteriology. Likewise, I’ve heard this comment (in multiple variations) from young non-Reformed pastors explaining why they frequent blogs and websites from Reformed guys: “The Calvinists are always talking about ministry and mission; the non-Calvinists are always talking about Calvinism.” (Keep in mind, this type of comment refers to online perception, and wouldn’t be true of offline conversations.) So, it seems to me that even among the young Southern Baptists who are not Reformed or even Reformed-ish, there’s an appreciation of this stream in Southern Baptist life.

3. Younger Southern Baptists tend to be theologically conservative without holding to certain cultural distinctives.

The two biggest examples of this would be worship style and alcohol. On worship style, the trend is toward contemporary worship and casual dress. It’s safe to say that most Southern Baptist church plants are as theologically conservative as those of previous generations, but the style has changed. (Interestingly enough, some of the churches aligned with the liberal splinter group CBF are more traditional and liturgical in their worship style than their younger conservative counterparts.)

On alcohol, I find that younger Southern Baptists don’t agree with the Convention’s many statements that imply total abstinence as a test of true faithfulness or a qualification for church leadership. Some younger pastors require their staff to abstain, primarily to avoid potential problems that issue may cause. In the middle, there are pastors who are personally opposed to alcohol but do not require the position for people in leadership. On the other side, there are younger Southern Baptists who see no problem with drinking in moderation. State conventions are sometimes put in the awkward position of wanting to celebrate some of their fastest growing churches and best preachers without affirming a church’s choice to not take a hard stance against drinking. (On this issue, I sense that my views on alcohol consumption are the minority opinion. Young Southern Baptists respect my teetotaling convictions, but they do not share them.)

4. Younger Southern Baptists are all over the spectrum when it comes to eschatology. 

I don’t have surveys to back this up, but my hunch is that thirty years ago, most conservative Southern Baptists would have placed themselves firmly in the premillennial, pretribulation Rapture camp regarding the end times. Dispensationalism reigned supreme for decades, even if prominent Southern Baptists throughout history like E.Y. Mullins and Herschel Hobbs did not hold this view.

Among young Southern Baptists today, Dispensationalism is on the decline and diversity is the norm. Whenever I talk to young guys about their eschatology, they run the spectrum from amillennial, to historic premillennial, to post-tribulation Rapture, to partial preterism. I’ve even met a couple of postmillennial Southern Baptists (a happy, hopeful minority!). But I meet very few traditional Dispensationalists. Left Behind was perhaps the best and worst thing to ever happen to Dispensationalism. The books popularized it for the masses and made it a punchline for the next generation.

I suspect the eschatological shift among younger Southern Baptists is more substantial than the Reformed discussion, but it doesn’t get headlines because (1) pastors are inclined to not make a big deal of their position, especially if it differs from that of their church, and (2) I’ve yet to hear of any church splits where eschatology was at the forefront. Of course, the Baptist Faith and Message (wisely) does not specify an End Times scenario.

5. Younger Southern Baptists are focused more on local church ministry and less on Convention meetings.

Last summer, several older pastors noted the difference in atmosphere between the Convention meeting in Houston and the SEND North America conference at Prestonwood. The Convention meeting was sparsely attended and largely filled with denominational protocol, entity reports, and voting sessions. SEND North America was overflowing with energy, excitement, and the schedule was filled with breakout sessions that ran the gamut from church revitalization to church planting to counseling, etc. It was far more multigenerational, far less formal, and designed around pastoral equipping.

I don’t find younger Southern Baptists to be averse to engaging in denominational structures and Convention matters, but they are more likely to spend time and money on the conferences or events in which they receive the most helpful instruction for practical ministry. That’s why the SEND numbers rivaled the SBC’s, and perhaps why thousands of Southern Baptists who attend T4G or Catalyst will not be present at the Convention’s annual meeting.

What about you? Do you agree or disagree with my observations? What trends do you see among younger Southern Baptists? 

Update: I have written down some further reflections on these five observations here.

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116 thoughts on “5 Observations about Younger Southern Baptists”

  1. Jonathan says:

    I am a memeber of a church aligned with the SBC and CBF and I would not call it a “liberal splinter group”. I would definitely call it a moderate splinter group. I have met many more conservatives and moderates than I have real theological liberals.

  2. Joel says:

    I think you are right on target. I especially agree with your observation about the differing generations viewing the U.S. as either Israel or Babylon.

  3. Kyle says:

    I don’t know anything about Southern Baptists young or old, but I am definitely stealing the line about the US being Israel or Babylon! Great way to communicate that point.

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      I suspect that shift is present among younger vs. older evangelicals as well.

      1. Alan says:

        Interestingly, this shift of viewing the US as more like Israel began about World War 2 among conservative Baptists. One great gauge of this is John R. Rice and his Sword of the Lord newspaper. While Rice had already left the SBC at this time, his fundamentalism was representative of the general mood/thinking of Baptists in the South. During the Depression, Rice and the writings in his newspaper were so critical of FDR and his policies, that it is easy to see within them the eschatological view that America and the world was sliding toward the end. That changed substantially with WW2 and the fight against atheistic communism.

      2. Kyle says:

        I think most of these shifts are present among people of my age vs. our parents, and I come from a non-denominational evangelical background. I think one should’t miss the impact Focus on the Family has had on evangelicals as a whole when it comes to America as a “chosen country.” They were huge in my house growing up, now they may still be huge but I never hear about them.

        I think all your other points apply to most younger evangelicals as a whole, except some may not have started from the same place.

  4. Joshua says:

    I think one discussion young SBC pastors need to have is whether or not it is their duty to participate in national convention matters, i.e. SBC Annual Meeting. Spending your pastoral conference budget to go to T4G and not the SBC Annual Meeting seems like dereliction of denominational duty. Being a Southern Baptist, to some degree, means participating in the denominational structure and processes.

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      I hope we will see more involvement in the future. Surely we can make annual meetings more beneficial to local church pastors. At the same time, we should see our involvement as a stewardship. I hope younger Southern Baptists will shake off the common anti-institutional posture of our generation and see involvement as wise and necessary. Andy Crouch’s “Playing God” would go a long way in helping others understand the power of structures and institutions, and why it’s best to help shape them rather than stay on the sidelines.

      1. Mike says:

        Trevin, as a youngish SBC CPing pastor I think I can “kind of” speak toward the convention topic. I have found while many younger men can appreciate the SBC ability to mobilize missions, the convention gathering doesn’t have much appeal to them. I think this is because of the speakers. While many younger guys hold Mohler/Dever up, they generally cut their teeth on the teachings from Carson, Keller, Piper, Driscoll, Mahany, Powlison, Grudem…. As a whole, TGC, T4G, CCEF… have a different approach to culture and ministry in comparison to many of the SBC speakers. As the SBC has grown, there has been a clear shift in the teachings young pastors are feeding on and hint, which is why the convention/state convention have taken more of a backseat.

        I also think some of the more fundamentalist mindset is still within the SBC, such as “we don’t smoke, curse or chew and we don’t date girls who do” is another degree of separation.

        Finally, I can see your point about stewardship, but don’t see young men seeing this as a drawl when they could go to other conferences and hear people they look up to and walk away more energized. Obviously, these are general observations, but I do think they carry some degree of weight in light of the whole and lack of young men’s promotion of the SBC.

        1. James says:

          I agree, Mike. Well said. I go to conferences, etc., that energize and/or equip. My support for the SBC is financial and contingent upon theology/ideology. If the SBC ever slips back into the state I remember my father complaining about when I was a child, then I am out. I am not him. I don’t have time to waste.

          1. Josh says:

            James, I appreciate your sentiment and would agree to an extent. There are two points in your statement though that are critical to pray over. If you “support” the SBC, you “are” the SBC. You are simply letting others make decisions. It’s like the church who has all congregants that just want to give and not serve.

            If you are not at the meetings, do you have a right to criticize or react to the decisions? In other words, I think we might be viewing the convention in a totally unhealthy way as many church members view their churches.

            I share these thoughts as a young church planter who has struggled with these issues and determined that I must be there. There are so many encouraging things happening. If I want to talk about the decisions of the Convention, I feel that I must be there to discuss, engage, and vote to have the right to analyze.

    2. Matt Maestas says:

      Speaking as a young Southern Baptist denominational worker, I do see involvement in denominational life, at least in our neck of the woods(Kansas), but it is truly baptist; meaning local association and state convention focused and not so much on the national agencies/gatherings. Our local and state convention meetings are often decently attended by new plants and younger pastors, but I, along with others, don’t see a huge benefit in spending the budget and personal funds to travel south and east for much business and little edification.

  5. Russell Johnson says:

    Help me understand. Older Baptists believe the US is equal to Israel (read theocracy) and the way to change the culture is political activity. Younger Baptists believe the US is Babylon and the best we can hope for is to carve out our little “Christian” niche in a debauched society.

    Is there any group of Baptists (Christians of any stripe for that matter) that believe the Biblical model for culture change was never political activity and that the culture can in fact be changed by the Gospel being proclaimed corporately and personally by Pastors and Believers??

    1. Alan says:

      Russell, this view always is in flux. Fundamentalists prior to WW2 withdrew from the culture, but were drawn back into it by the war and fight against communism. They retreated again in the 1960s and 1970s with the Supreme Court decisions. One of the best examples of that retreat came with the launch of Christian day schools run by conservative churches. That all changed with the launch of Falwell’s Moral Majority in the late 70s and early 80s. The assumption here was that Christians had a moral obligation to vote their moral convictions.

      I don’t think any of these conservative-type Baptists believed the culture would be changed by anything other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, I do believe they felt the political process could either help or hinder the spread of the Gospel. So, in a decision not unlike the magisterial reformers, they decided to embrace politics.

      1. JohnM says:

        Alan – You are right – “I don’t think any of these conservative-type Baptists believed the culture would be changed by anything other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” is an important observation.

        Having been one of those “conservative-type Baptists” (though not personally very politically involved beyond voting) I do think the outlook of a generation of conservative evangelicals is being misrepresented nowadays. Of course it doesn’t help that opportunistic politicians latch onto evangelical rhetoric, and evangelicals are sometimes taken in by their demagoguery.

  6. Matt says:

    From an outsider (Presbyterian) who is married to a SBC pastor’s daughter who faithfully follows trends in SBC life/ministry (both through media and personal relationships):

    I completely agree with your observations, and celebrate them! From a different kind of political engagement to the spread of Reformed theology to freedom in Christ in non-essential areas to a more faithful hermeneutical method leading to better (and more healthy) eschatology and focus on local church ministry… all positive developments for the SBC and for the kingdom!

  7. I find your observations parallel mine very closely. The Left Behind series is one of the primary reasons I am no longer a pre-mil dispy. The view that the US is more Babylon than Israel is inescapable in the last few years, and moving past Babylon toward Sodom.

    One of the interesting questions that remains: will SBC colleges become less hostile toward Calvinism since their future constituents are more of a reformed stripe? (Not all are hostile, and some more than others, but reformed theology has not been the norm but in a small handful of SBC colleges and universities.) As I write this, I have my youth minister making calls to try to find some reformed-friendly churches in Waco, and reformed-friendly religion professors at Baylor, where my senior twins are headed in the Fall.

  8. Bill Morrow says:

    Having been raised in a fundamentalist SBC and heavily influenced by para-church evangelical groups during college in the 60’s, I started out entrenched in those paradigms you describe. But over the years I have begun to learn to separate what is BIBLICAL from what is TRADITIONAL, and a few years in the PCA gave me a much deeper appreciation for grace. So, although I am in my mid-60s, I fit the profile you give for “younger Southern Baptists”, and I strongly suspect my story is common among other “older Southern Baptists” as well.

  9. Chad says:

    Great observations concerning younger evangelicals (by which I would be identified), not necessarily Southern Baptists in particular.

  10. jonathan bennett says:

    Add me to the ‘happy, hopeful minority’ of young SBC postmillennialists! :-)

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      Well, the plus for you is that no matter how few people agree with you, everyone will in the end!

      1. jonathan bennett says:

        tru dat! by the way, what is your position on these things?

  11. JohnM says:

    Trevin, I suspect to some degree the “shift”, take views on alcohol for one example, has been taking place for some time, including among older Southern Baptists. The difference may be that for younger Southern Baptists there simply was no shift required to arrive at the view they hold.

  12. Jared Alex says:

    Spot on. As far as young Southern Baptist pastors, or seminary students specifically, there’s a greater focus on global ministry. I could easily see younger leaders taking a firm stance on globally-minded congregations.

  13. LaneH says:

    Love the article and agree with it. I do believe one of the greatest failures the younger generation is making is an “over-correction” in political engagement that is nearer political pacifism. I do not agree with all the strategies the older generation but they took US citizenship seriously to fight within the structure for religious freedom and foundational values. Younger leaders have often been clouded in political thinking & strategy by historical interpretation that denied Judeo-Christian foundations for USA and leaned to accept a “Babylon-esque” reality for the future of America (through non-political involvement or priority) simply because that was the political landscape in the Bible. The church should not fear being a “Babylon-esque” cultural reality, but neither should we simply lay down and accept it as inevitable. If we have a mandate to make great art, culture, etc. as the younger generation is so quick to espouse, good political engagement must be included.

    1. Sara M says:

      Great insights and very well said!

  14. AndyB says:

    Mostly right on. Some good one-liners too! However…

    I can’t tell from the writing but it seems that you are saying you agree with “total abstinence as a test of true faithfulness or a qualification for church leadership.” I’m not sure if this is your position but you kinda imply that in parens(). If it is, I neither agree nor respect it and think you should repent.

    (And I don’t drink either.)

    Other then that this seems pretty accurate.

    1. 116on911 says:

      alright AndyB let’s get off your high horse now.

      1. AndyB says:

        Well huh,

        Trevin specifically asked if we disagree in the context of young people in SBC and issues they see. So being that he asked for my opinion he got it. It’s extremely easy to have an echo chamber with people that agree. Comments like “spot on” etc.. So I thought I’d provide some feedback as requested.

        And yea, of all the SBC crazy this one irritates me the most.

        I do see and respect people like John Piper and his stated position on non-consumption. But the SBC attitude of “you are an untrustworthy Christian if you choose to drink and unfit for leadership” is shall we say far more moral then Jesus? I mean com’n Jesus wouldn’t be “qualified” for leadership in most of our SBC Churches. And yea I find that irritating.

      2. Tom Hardy says:

        Exactly how is that a “high horse”?
        When we look at Scripture especially 1 Cor. 10, the issue of Christian liberty should never be an excuse to be a stumbling block to a weaker brother or sister. I know a pastor who because he knew an older woman in the Church who believed (in her words) “alcohol is the devil”, decided that for her benefit he would completely abstain from alcohol,
        This is however a double edged sword, mainly because this woman is a very critical person, who people need walk on egg shells around. This woman no longer goes to our Church because among other things, the pastor is a “Calvinist”, in other words while our statement of faith is very Calvinistic. Up until my pastor came around, it wasn’t being consistently taught. Understand here, my pastor is an expository preacher, so other than quoting a few theologians and pastors such as CH Spurgeon; he rarely uses the word “Calvinist” or Reformed”.
        The key to me is trying to use wisdom.

  15. Jacob says:


    Good analysis. As a former Catholic who only converted back in 2010, I’m a bit new to many of these discussions. That said, specifically to your point about eschatology and Left Behind, I’ve noticed during a series in our small group on Revelation, that it seems the others in the group thought it was ridiculous but couldn’t really articulate why they thought it was, because the theology undergirding it was so entrenched.

    More generally, the best thing going right now, it seems to me, is that we are being forced as younger Christians to examine why we believe what we believe and defend it against the prevailing secularism in the culture. It’s creating a great hunger amongst us to grow closer to Jesus and to each other, which is why I don’t really get depressed by the larger cultural shifts. We are supposed to be a minority (at least for now), and I think we’ll be far more effective in that role.

    Thanks for the blog.

  16. Peter Mahoney says:

    Trevin, I think you nailed it. While I’m probably not in the “younger” demographic at 41, I certainly count myself inline with much of what you articulate. Setting aside the “red meat” of alcohol consumption and eschatology that seems to stir the pot for some (although I would argue those pots are emptying quickly), the views on denominational activity are going to have to be confronted.

    In my view (which certainly isn’t courtside by any stretch of the imagination), even the view that the SBC is a denomination in the truest sense of the word isn’t all the way correct. Maybe the time has finally come to shift our thinking and release at least some of the models and methodologies that are contributing to the perspective that is held by some (me included) that the SBC is organizationally “top heavy”. The local association (better termed “network”) of SBC churches can and should be strengthened to be catalysts for ministry and mission partnerships.

    I recognize that much of this is already happening, but until those that serve and influence the SBC on a national level embrace the inevitable, I believe we will continue to see significant declines in participation, especially those who are among the younger generations.

  17. Trev,
    I couldn’t agree more, I’m ordained SBC but left the denom for the Reformed church in 2000 (because as a worship leader there was nothing for me in the Baptist church).
    All of these things were in play back then but the shift had not occurred yet, only the frustrated rumblings of people like myself.
    And I think you’re correct to call the CBF the liberal splinter group that it is…you see, nobody wants to be called a liberal as a Baptist, even the liberals…so they all hide under the moniker of “moderate”, and but with Baptists, “Moderate” can simply mean that you untuck your shirt in church and listen to Lecrae…while having nothing to do with your view on scripture.
    Thanks for this article my bro.

  18. Aren’t historic premillennialism and post-tribulation rapture the same thing?

    1. Matthew Abate says:

      The quick answer is yes. There are differences of opinion among the Historic Premillennialists as to the tribulation being either totally future or a blend of present and future.

  19. Brandon Clements says:

    As a young pastor at an SBC church plant, I think you hit the nail squarely and firmly on the head. Maybe even a one-swing nail:)

  20. As a member of an SBC church your observations are very useful and I believe them to be quite accurate. I see a common foundation to all of them and wonder if you agree. Younger believers are more interested in Biblical truth than denomination positions and political change since the primary goal of the Christian is to glorify and praise The Lord God Almighty and helps others to do so as well. This would be observed in their worship and evangelism.

    As a believer for most of my life (I am 45) I am interested in understanding the Bible as well as I can and letting His Truth guide my actions. At my church we have used the materials of two reformed theologians (Del Tackett’s ‘The Truth Project’ and John Snyder’s ‘Behold Your God’) because of the truth they teach and the high view of God they proclaim. We are comfortable doing so because we know these men love God dearly and are trying to teach the Bible accurately, the areas where we disagree are often discussed with the result of making our own faith stronger and deepening everyone’s understanding of God’s Word. This produces a shift in our work, with limited resources I think many people are choosing to impact individuals and communities with the Gospel with the idea that secondary benefits of cultural and political change will take place as hearts change in response to the work of the Holy Spirit. The last thing I would say is that there is a greater recognition that no denomination is perfect or has a lock on scriptural interpretation. Certainly we can learn from Armenianists about freewill while disagreeing about eternal security as we can learn about the sovereignty and holiness of God from Reformed Theology while arguing that God remains faithful His promises to Israel despite their failings, a promise I cling to as a gentile believer.

    As the US shifts ever farther away from all things related to God our duty is to continue to teach and encourage believers in their life of glorifying God and to share this majestic and glorious God with all those we meet.

    Praise God who has formed together a body with unique talents, gifts and passions as this means the diversity of work that must be accomplished is spread among many willing hands.

  21. Sean says:

    These Baptist sound like good Wesleyans. It’s good to see this trend as I believe it offers a necessary corrective to get American churches out of it’s isolationist mentality and take on a more global view of church.

  22. Brian says:

    As a younger SBC missionary, I too agree with the sentiment. I hate being boxed in, but these points largely define me. I waver on political involvement; I don’t think it is bad, but society in general has attached “conservative” to Christian and we’re now evangelizing the good laws instead of the good news, in many cases.

    1. Sean says:

      Agreed Brian. For so long the church has enjoyed power as a majority and look up to as the moral voice in the nation, this isn’t the case any longer. We’ve been tied for so long with Conservative Republican rather than being associated with a Christ that changes lives and brings hope. The Church has become a force of the law rather than a force of God. This isn’t too far off from what Jesus accused the Pharisees of in the New Testament. We’ve got to get back to the core message of the Gospel which is to transform lives because Jesus loves humanity and is working to restore creation through the Church. I truly believe we must step away from trying to find our identity in defining missions and visions and get on board with the Head of the Church and His mission and vision of being the Church, of being God’s new way of existing in the world.

  23. Thank you, Trevin for these great observations. I am a post grad student at SBTS (a new convert to SBC) and a traditional dispensationalist, along the likes of John MacArthur – so I am one of the few! You are so correct when you state that LB was the worst thing to happen that happened to Dispensational theology but I don’t see how it was the “best” thing. Yes it popularized “fiction books” but did very, very little to promote the true understanding of the theology. I wish the books had never been written. Also, I think many have not focused on eschatology due to the emphasis on soteriology (ie. the gospel!), becoming Amill by default. Even though I am a dispensationalist, I think focusing on the gospel is a right and proper move. The gospel after all should be the focus, not timelines of future events. Perhaps this makes me a small “d” Dispensationalist. Nevertheless, despite the lack of dispensational theology, I am happy for the SBC direction.

    1. Matthew Abate says:

      For the record, I’ve never read any of the Left Behind novels. I agree with you that those books have done more harm than good. In fact, I think those novels have sullied the Progressive Dispensational camp and premillennialism. The latter predates dispensationalism by centuries.

      I’d love to see responsible and scholarly premillennial works approach the pastoral and theological rigor of the non-dispy premills of the 19th Century. Where are the men who rival B.W. Newton, S.P. Tregelles, Henry Alford, Franz Delitzsch, A.R. Fausset, and the Bonar brothers? James Hamilton is one of the best amongst the younger generation, but he’s practically on an island by himself.

      1. Greg says:

        Check out Michael Vlach’s books for careful, scholarly, current work from a (dispensational) premillenialist. Also lots of stuff on his website:

  24. Clay J says:


    You have pretty much described me, especially on the denominational front. I am proud of my Southern Baptist Heritage, but I am probably not going to be involved in the national conventional meetings, unless it is close by or something changes with the convention format. Others may say what they will, but for me it comes down to practicalities. I am pastoring a smaller church with a limited budget. I can only work in one conference a year. This year I opted for T4G over the SBC convention for a variety of reasons. I do not have the luxury of taking much time off. I am the only staff member. I have a young family (translation: I couldn’t take much time away if I was provided it). I want to use my time and church’s resources wisely by investing in a conference where I am being given tools, being poured into, and edified. I felt that T4G is designed better for this than SBC meetings.

    In Christ,
    Clay J

  25. Alex Beasley says:

    As one of the younger Southern Baptist, I feel as if you “hit the nail on the head in a figurative sense. I have found it is challenging to manage the rift between the older SBC pastors and the young ones. I am not sure what needs to happen to bridge the gap between the younger generation and the older.

  26. I would agree with your comments. It would be what I characterize as a typical pendulum theological swing that has taken place hundreds if not countless thousands of times throughout all of church history. We are now reacting to the local churches attempt to recreate swelling numbers coming to Christ in Billy Graham style crusades by mimicking those methods on Sunday mornings rather than preaching the gospel and allowing the Holy Spirit to do the work as He would have it done. (This does not invalidate evangelistic crusades at all!) As a result we created anemic if not false converts. Now the pendulum swings to a more “Calvanistic” theological approach which is simply more Biblically balanced. If all the young Southern Baptist theologians will simply preach the truth of scripture and leave poor John Calvin and Jacobus Armenius out of it we might avoid another massive theological pendulum swing in the future. You could apply this to evangelical conflict over the Holy Spirit and His work, the political involvement of the church (because we don’t know our history that tells us the revolution started in the pulpits) as mentioned in your article and so many other positions where we simply follow the latest greatest “hot preacher” or denominational leader and his theological position that has gotten a lot of air play, instead of studying the scripture and preaching it clearly and plainly in the power of the Holy Spirit.

  27. Joel Sams says:

    One thing I have noticed (as one of those younger Southern Baptists) is a growing disenchantment with denominations–period. When questioned about their religious heritage, most of the young people I know say “I was raised Baptist,” “I was raised Wesleyan,” or “I was raised Catholic.” But now, as twenty-somethings going out into dismissive secular world, we maximize our fellowship and call ourselves Christians.

    That’s not to say that young Southern Baptists are ashamed of where we came from. But I think we’re entering a time of unity by necessity. Christians, of whatever stripe, have more in common with each other than with world, and we’re finally beginning to realize it.

  28. taco says:

    This is larger than just the young people in the SBC.

  29. Anthony Foster says:

    I think your observations are pretty accurate but necessarily broad brush. Some of the same shifts have been detected in older SB’s as well. My own journey parallels others I know; it took me away from the SBC and into nondenominational and reformed-ish circles due to the influence of reformed voices such as Schaeffer, Sproul, Piper, Guinness, et. al. I came back into the denomination intentionally and deliberately, with a sense of calling (and a clearer conviction of biblical theology), so I cherish the lessons learned as I sojourned under a broader evangelical umbrella. The possibilities of that conversation was extended exponentially by the internet. I think this interchange with the broader evangelical world has been a healthy one that sees fruit in today’s generation of emerging SBC leaders.

    Each generation sheds itself of some of the hubris it inherited, and I am hopeful this one won’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I am very humbled and privileged to teach young men and women in an SBC institution, and get to clearly see their love for Jesus and their passionate desire to know and love God through a better understanding of His Word. Good days are ahead.

  30. Greg says:

    I agree with all of these. On their own I think most of them would be good developments.

    However, I am deeply concerned that these developments are in large part simply a rebellion, or at least a pendulum swing, away from what the previous generation of SBCers has held.

    I’m not saying this out of bitterness: I agree with many of the critiques. The political campaigning is shameful. The idea of teetotaling as a biblical command is untenable (though I don’t personally drink).

    But let’s be honest: it’s cool to be different than the people who went before, especially if those people have a few obvious errors.

    What makes me think these distinctives are mostly reactionary rather than true, biblical change? Because despite a “Reformed-ish” theology and a focus on the local church, the way that ministry is being carried out is every bit as much from human wisdom as the Arminian-ish, Moral Majority, suit-requiring generation of yesteryear.

    It’s the same fundamental tactic: appeal to what people want. It’s just appealing to a different subset of people (the young ones). Look around at these churches. Are they filled with people of all ages? Are they places where faithful Christians of all stripes would feel welcome, or are they just appealing to a different demographic?

    That’s why I’m concerned: A ministry philosophy built upon reactionary methodology is absolutely doomed to fail.

    I realize this is painting with something of a broad brush; I have several friends in SBC churches who do not operate in this way, while still holding the convictions listed in the original post. But I’m just not yet convinced what is going on is quite as spectacular as everyone seems to think.

    I suppose time will tell!

  31. Mike says:

    “I’ve yet to hear of any church splits where eschatology was at the forefront”…

    The most recent church I attended split because a small, influential group of people claimed dispensationalism to be a primary essential doctrine-like the deity of Christ-and led others to believe likewise.

    1. Sean says:

      I’ve yet to hear of any churches that have split over eschatology also, however; I believe we are coming to a time in which eschatology is gaining more attention in serious academic studies in our seminaries and Bible Schools. What we are finding though is that dispensationalism cannot hold up against the backdrop of the Bible and the historical beliefs and greater experience of the Church as we have thus far read in our history. We are also finding that Jesus was very much eschatological in nature, in particular His Kingdom of God language which seems to depict an active role of the Church in engaging culture and bringing hope to people through social initiatives that lead to encounters that genuinely transform lives and people truly encounter Christ in a very distinctive and real manner that affects social good. This leads them to learn more about the character of Christ as relationships form with Christians and converts are formed. We’ve been so anti-Roman Catholic over works righteousness that we’ve all but missed the critical component for conversion, genuine interaction with people which the Church aides for no other reason than because Christ loves them and wants the best for them. Our good works and our change in character because of a relationship with Christ is what “wins” people for Christ. In short, it is the already, not yet Kingdom of God. It is the Kingdom of God dwelling in and among God’s people. In short, eschatology is the beginning of Christian identity and purpose. Not because of fear of damnation, but of hope and the proclamation of the Kingdom of God already being present, but not yet fully consummated.

  32. Good points. And the tough part for the church is … they young folks are right!

  33. Robby Moore says:

    As a young southern baptist who has tattoos, enjoys a good beer, and the tunes of the likes of Kanye; I greatly appreciate your accurate assessment of a younger generation and am grateful for older men in the SBC who want to partner with younger pastors like myself. Thanks for writing this Trevin. Great thoughts that help me more accurately see myself and think of ways I can serve the SBC at large while maintaining my own personal convictions.

  34. Jonathan McGuire says:

    There are two groups of “younger Southern Baptists”: 1) pastors: those in a ministry vocation and 2) laity: those in a secular, private vocation.

    The laity are more pragmatic about the future and purpose of the SBC than the pastors…and the current generation of laity are harder to lead than previous generations largely because of this pragmatic bent. The under 40 crowd want their church related work to have meaning beyond building up a leader’s kingdom. They prefer to be about the global mission without having to work through the details of eschatology, ecclesiology and are not interested in spending valuable time arguing about traditions that come with sketchy or no biblical mandate (alcohol, time/day of the week and structure of congregational worship.

    These laity have grown up in the world of Ted talks, and business/life coach gurus who want you to buy their books and attend their seminars. Just as they were once enthralled by a good talk but found out that nothing replaces hard, diligent work years on end, they’re not going to have an ear for preaching that doesn’t lead toward disciple making and expanding the Kingdom into all the world. For these folks, attending an SBC (or state or associational) meeting is just resources not well spent when there are other conferences focused on actually reaching the unreached.

    The irony here is that as the 40 something generation of pastors has finally started taking their place in positions of SBC leadership, the financial future of the SBC looks bleak…primarily because as this generation of leader worked to build up their own personal branding, they neglected Cooperative Program giving by their own church (for various reasons). So, now with men who did not lead their own churches to give generously to the mechanism that funds the SBC take their place in the leadership of the SBC, they have little moral authority to plea for increased offerings.

    Link this with the fact that a majority of the active members of the laity in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are active significantly due to the work of outstanding but non-SBC pastors (Piper, MacArthur, Grudem, Packer, etc…) and the SBC is faced with the fact that rather than being the de facto leader of these generations, it must actually lead or get out of the way.

    As a 45 year old life long member of SBC churches, pastor’s son, pastor’s son-in-law, I would hope that the SBC find the strength to do a real self evaluation and making fundamental changes instead of the standard, tired, blue ribbon commission stuff that changes nothing (GCR, I’m looking at you!).

    The good news is that the kingdom will be advanced by these young laity with or without the SBC.

  35. Paul Cooper says:

    Sounds pretty spot on to me.

  36. Alice Turner says:

    Comments on alcohol…I am against any vice that a person uses that alters the mind and makes one do things they would not ordinarily do. Although the Bible mentions to drink in moderation, too many people do not know that meaning and therefore either act stupid or maybe even kill themselves or a person while drinking (and driving). I feel the best thing is to abstain mainly because of my witness as a Christian and might cause another person to stumble, as Paul wrote. Good thought…what would Jesus do…I would be appalled if He was pictured with a beer in His hand (or smoking a joint)!

    1. Wes Rice says:

      So are you appalled that Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine, for a party, and that was AFTER they already ran out of wine to begin with?

  37. J. Pait says:

    Just curious. In this comment thread, I seem to be seeing the view that dispensational eschatology equates the USA to Israel. Not being a part of the SBC, can someone explain that to me? I always thought that dispensationalism holds that Israel is Israel and the reformed view holds that the Church replaces Israel.

    1. Jacob says:

      You might running two of his separate points together. The Israel/USA comparison dealt with politics and uses Israel and Babylon in a symbolic sense. Should our goal be a godly nation where the church has a prominent role (Israel) or ensuring a carved out role for the church as a minority (“moral minority” anyone?) amidst the larger secular culture (Babylon).

      The eschatology topic is totally different, although you’re right in that the Israel=Israel or Israel=the Church element is central to the dispensationalist vs. everyone else debate on the larger subject.

    2. Tom Hardy says:

      While it is true that most “Reformed” Christians believe that through faith Gentiles were grafted into the true Israel of God (otherwise known as the Church). Within the Reformed community there are various points of disagreement. For example, some believe there are still things in Scripture that can only be fulfilled by ethnic Israel.

  38. Kyle Bryant says:

    I am one of those minorities…Baptist and postmillenial. Indeed, we are a merry few.

  39. Bryce Landon says:

    As a 27-year-old Southern Baptist, I wish to share my thoughts on this.

    1) There was a time when I thought of America as being Israel; but with the developments in our society since Obama became President, it’s pretty clear that we are Babylon. And the GOP has proven that they can’t be counted on to set America straight on moral issues.

    2) I am Calvinist in my soteriology.

    3) As a conservative, I prefer a more traditional mode of worship. I used to be a seminary student in Louisville, and the church I served in offered both contemporary and traditional worship. I went to the traditional service, and it was as close to liturgical as I have ever seen in a Baptist church. This particular church was dually aligned with the SBC and CBF. (BTW, I don’t think it’s fair to brand the CBF as liberal. There are liberals in the CBF, but there are moderates and conservatives there too. As a Southern Baptist who interacted with CBFers at this dually-aligned church, I can attest that the CBF is not as liberal as the more staunch conservatives in the SBC would have me believe.) I don’t drink, and I don’t think it is wise for anyone to be drinking alcohol.

    4) I hold to many tenets of dispensational eschatology, although I reject other elements of dispensational thought.

    5) While in Kentucky, I represented my church in a meeting of the Long Run Baptist Association, a group of SBC-affiliated churches serving Metro Louisville. I got more out of that than out of any conference.

    So in some ways I’m part of the trend of younger SBCers, but in other ways I buck the trend.

  40. Cindy Finley says:

    Definitely not in the “younger” category, age wise, but match up otherwise. One issue that you don’t address is the growing acceptance of continuationism among those who are both baptistic and reformed-ish (I like that) in their theology, John MacArthur notwithstanding. I’m curious about your observations here. Additionally, I see the older generation clucking their tongues at the younger generation. However, in my experience, it’s this younger generation that is more faithfully grasping the connection between faith and missions. Thank you Piper, Chan, Platt, and now now Nik Ripken. Of course, as a woman, I’m celebrating the influence of Christine Caine, Jen Hatmaker, and Rachel Evans. Who, although I differ with her on some pretty basic things, I respect her for being willing to authentically address hard topics. Trevin, thanks so much for your observations!

  41. Wow, I think he nailed it. The only two I would add would be that younger SB seem to be 1.) more charismatic and 2.) more concerned with authenticity.

  42. I guess I am not a “young” southern Baptist anymore (I am 41). But I see all of these points as dead on.

  43. Scott Shaver says:


    If congrats are in order. Looks like the generation of SBCers Wax is describing will be successful in bringing what’s left of the denomination into complete cultural conformity.

    Already happening.

    1. Peter Mahoney says:

      Can you please offer some detail and insight to expand on your thoughts?

    2. Drew says:

      Because the culture prefers traditional worship and going to Convention? Yes please, a little more explanation.

  44. Tom Strode says:

    Perceptive observations, Trevin. I think you have done an excellent job of describing in general the views of young Southern Baptist pastors. I am excited about what I see in them.

  45. Tom says:

    Well Trevin, I would like to congratulate you on your “observations” which sound more like Democratic talking points than actual, factual synthesis of evidence. The comment about Israel and the US is a perfect example, as a number of people “love it.” What you have done is produced your own opinions and communicated them to us as fact, which it is not. I will admit that there are SBs who believe exactly what you have said, but since we are throwing anecdotal information out as fact, they don’t run in my circles.

    But let’s take your first generalization as an example. You will get ALL the US haters with that one, so congratulations. Again, anecdotal information as fact, I know of NO older SBs who view the US as Israel. They view Israel as Israel, and the US as an ally. But, your comment is accurate–the minority group you are appealing to and find yourself in agreement with view the US as the great evil–thus Babylon.

    You will get plenty of kuddos for your “observations,” but they do not represent the majority of SBs I know. As a key leader though, you will succeed with articles like this in convincing the masses that their opinions are not in keeping with current SB culture. That will either cause them to rise-up and be more vocal, or leave the SB with the young reformers you claim represent us all. My prayer is that the former will happen, otherwise we will be left with a feckless and faithless SB that looks more like the culture around us than the Christians we are called to be. What a pile of rubbish!

    1. Sean says:

      Sorry you feel this way Tom. I really hope you would take the time to pray and ask God to help you deal with the hostility you are feeling over this article. As a person speaking from outside the SB denomination, I can tell you that what has been presented in this article transcends the SBC and is an interdenominational trend. There is plenty of research and authors who have written on the trend and a number of theological journals analysing the current cultural situations as they relate to Christian Theology.

  46. James says:

    I fit Trevin’s general description to a “T” – I am 38, a PK, in ministry for 6 years, a Southeastern (SEBTS) grad, staunchly conservative, predominantly reformed, etc. I am proud of what the SBC does well – strategic missions, theological education, disaster relief. However, I do not fit the cultural mold of the SBC establishment. I am about to make some very broad generalizations, please forgive me if they do not fit your experience.

    I find I have little in common with most of the older pastors I meet, from associational meetings on up through the state and to the convention. Our views of the world, and the church, and our roles as pastors are very different. I see my church as a living organism: moving, growing, reproducing. My predecessors express a regard for the church as civic institution to be supported and maintained. I strive to be a mentor and a coach, life on life, multiplying myself and my gifts within the Body. My counterparts seem to keep their distance from the congregation, substituting preaching and teaching for following and mentoring (I was even advised once that the worst thing a pastor can do is marriage counseling!?!). Finally, behind the “we can do all things through Christ” platitudes, there is a negativity and defeatism in facing this day and age, and I don’t know how to relate to that. This is my time, my city, my people – God sent me here to be Jesus to them!

    I have held my peace while men I want to respect sit and bemoan the state of the country and condition of their churches, presenting no solutions, then condemn their fellow conservatives for being Calvinists or not being teetotalers on matters of liberty. Its as though if Southern Baptists don’t have a common enemy they resort to fighting themselves.

    Sometimes I want to say to the generation that came before me that we love Jesus and hold His Word high! We learned that from you; from watching you fight for decades to restore the most critical and precious tenets of our faith! But we do look with suspicion upon the dominant theological frameworks of the 19th & 20th centuries because of the defunct church culture we perceive that they consequently cultivated. For Baptists, that means dispensationalism, revivalism, and paternalistic missions.

    I tell people I am a Southern Baptist by default. I say this because my theological and ideological convictions trump my sense of style or history or affinity for tradition. And when it comes to theological conviction, missional vision, cooperative spirit, and global scale – today the SBC’s got the best game in town.

  47. gary says:

    I have read in a couple of recent reports that tens of thousands of “Millennials” are leaving evangelical churches due to the position of most evangelical churches and denominations on the issue of homosexuality. Are you picking this up in the SBC?

    Baptism numbers in the SBC are way down. Could this be possibly why? Are SBC young people leaving Evangelicalism and maybe even Christianity altogether because they perceive their Faith as bigoted and discriminatory? If that is true, will we one day see the SBC and other evangelical denominations soften their stance on Homosexuality as they have on the issue of Divorce?

    1. Tom Hardy says:

      I hope what you said about young people leaving their faith because they perceive their Faith as bigoted and discriminatory isn’t true.
      While I certainly don’t condone bigotry in the name of Christianity; it is undeniable that like all forms of fornication, homosexuality is sin. If a person leaves the faith because of this fact, then was their faith truly real in the first place? Rather than let Scripture (in context of course) dictate what we believe; we make a God in our own image when we let our perception win out over God’s Word. Or even reinterpret Scripture to fit with our perception.
      Not long ago I unfortunately let myself get involved in a fruitless debate about an article written by a supposedly Christian woman at a Christian University claiming her university is wrong to make people sign a Christian covenant to abstain from premarital sex, homosexuality and other forms of fornication while at the University.
      The student actually wrote this article in a newspaper with a discussion link to Face book. She claimed that when she originally signed the document, she was naive and wasn’t sure if she would do it again. Like myself, there were Christians who wrote to defend the universities stand; yet the majority agreed with her wholeheartedly. In fact one person responded to me, that I prove that Christianity is dangerous to society and should be made illegal. Although that person views were the most radical, I got the feeling that a lot of people agreed with that sentiment.
      I ended up bowing out of the conversation.

    2. Mike says:

      I’m still waiting on the SBC to back off on Divorce. I left the SBC because I am divorced and can no longer minister in those circles. I had one person in the last SB church I attended tell me to let me in the pulpit would be the same as letting a homosexual preach.

      1. Jimmy Edwards says:

        My wife was married before she met me, and she divorced her ex because of physical abuse she suffered after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. According to an associate pastor at the church she grew up at, I can never be a minister in the SBC because of this

  48. I think the vast majority of these observations hit the nail on the head! As a young Southern Baptist just starting in youth ministry, I identify with every one except for the one about alcohol (I do believe it’s best for leadership to abstain.) I especially like the points you raised about political engagement. The US as Babylon vs. Israel is the best way I’ve ever seen it explained.

  49. Nelson says:

    You’re a terrific writer: “strategy becomes more about preserving space for Christian morality and less about enshrining our views in law.” and I particularly liked the metaphors of Babylon and Israel. But you couldn’t find a better definition for CBF than “liberal splinter group”? So dismissive. It says a lot about your degree of SBC fundamentalism.

  50. Craig Giddens says:

    1. We should exercise our liberty to vote, but politics is not the answer to the problems in our country.
    2. Reformed theology tends to downplay or ignore Paul’s admonition to rightly divide the word of truth. This results in spiritualizing passages instead of taking a literal approach to scripture with the emphasis on context. It is so right that “theological depth and biblical exposition are essential to the health of the church”. The question is do the young SBCs hold to a literal, grammatico-historical study of the scriptures?
    3. We have liberties, but knowing all of the damage caused by the consumption of alcohol why would a believer even look in that direction? Read Paul’s epistles and notice how much emphasis he places on worship when believers are assembled.
    4. Number 4 is similar to number 2. Reformed theology tends to lead toward a kingdom now theology which leads to ignoring God’s promises to Israel or tries to spiritualize them. Holding to a literal, grammatico-historical study of the scriptures will result in seeing that God promised a kingdom to Israel and will fulfill those promises. Based on scripture you have to believe Babylon is in the Middle East or Rome.
    5. If by “local church ministry” you mean building up the body through the preaching and teaching of the word of God and ministering to one another through our gifts then I believe that is the way to go.

  51. Sean says:

    An additional thought
    I would agree with all of thees thoughts and u would add one mire that at furst glans seems disjointed let me first state that i am 26 years old, and so i fall into the classification of conservative young southern baptists. The observation is that younger people while being willing to spend time and money on thees conferences gaining practical minustry insite and strategy are also across the biard less likley to take action… I.E. Share the gospel in their work place… i belive this will be and is currently the great failure of my generation. Simply put younger people are not(Generaly speaking) men and women of action!!

    Older generation. Help us with this thrue discipleship and intentional mentoring.. Say hard things to us!

  52. Jimmy Byrd says:

    This is pretty accurate. I’m 30 and still consider myself a younger Southern Baptist. I think that these characteristics are shared by many of my peers.

  53. Jimmy Edwards says:

    Having spent most of my Christian life of 31 years in SBC congregations and being involved in SBC-sponsored campus ministry, I have been less eager to identify with that denomination over the past 15 years or so. Most of the churches have been small-to-medium size; and the expectations pastors and other leaders have is that you need to be there every time the doors are open to be fully blessed by and obedient to God. My work schedule, however, does not always allow that to happen. I also agree with the one who posted that more “traditional” SBC churches tend to view themselves as an institution and not an organism–priding themselves on programs and events like revivals for success. I myself am no longer attracted to revivals because the churches that still have them act like they’re the only time church members need to be serious about soul-winning and their relationships with the Lord.

  54. St. Irenaeus says:

    You forgot to mention that 100% of them are separated from the holy, pure, immaculate, and precious true body and blood of Jesus Christ.

  55. Nate says:

    Isn’t it a bit disingenuous to say “The Calvinists are always talking about ministry and mission; the non-Calvinists are always talking about Calvinism.” in an article written by a Calvinist that uses Calvinism as one of its five points?

    Truth is many “reformed ish” people as you put it don’t talk about Calvinism because no one else in our sphere of influence does. This issue is pushed from top down and responded to with silence rather than voice concerns and just increase the amount of argument concerning the topic. My guess is that more and more will remain silent on it as they preach the gospel louder and louder.

  56. Mitch Fisher says:

    Great article…and good thoughts. I would add that for many older Southern Baptists the differences are not that major. I get excited when I see our younger pastors challenge cultural standards with Biblical standards and truth…I say it’s about time…And a great line regarding Israel and Babylon…So very true

  57. Ron F. Hale says:


    Respectfully, I would quibble a little over this statement: “Older Southern Baptists are more likely to see the U.S. as Israel. Younger Southern Baptists are more likely to see the U.S. as Babylon.”

    As a 62-year old, having served and ministered to several older generations (and a few younger), I would say that older generations see the U.S. as Athens (Mars Hill).


  58. Jeff Palomino says:

    Trevin – based on my experience in the SBC, most young southern baptists haven’t read the Bible to know what their eschatological views are.

  59. Justin says:

    From a 33 year old Southern Baptist pastor… your dead on!!!

  60. Scott says:

    I think you are on point. At least based on my experience.

  61. I agree. If there were a 6th observation, I wonder if it would be about church government/polity. It seems that younger baptists are moving toward a more centralized version of congregational rule, which I support.

  62. Tom Kline says:

    As an older person involved in a church full of millennials, I find this article to be very much on the mark. I, for one, am grateful for the new, less legalistic, more evangelistic, more reformed, less political Southern Baptist Church that is emerging.

  63. Morgan says:

    I think there has also been a very interesting shift between older generations maintaining tradition in church politics, worship, etc. and seeing the younger generation stray from tradition and towards discipleship. I believe that younger SBC members are more passionate than ever before and I wholeheartedly believe that this generation is making an impact like we’ve never seen before for the Gospel. Maybe this shift was needed as young adults are determining what their theology is, not based on tradition or familial beliefs.

  64. Henry Wynns says:

    I was at one time a pretribulationist; however, I no longer hold that view. I simply accept what the Baptist Faith and Message of 1963 and 2000 says concerning Last Things. When that time occurs, we will know which group is correct. Also, concerning Calvinism, I am only a one-point Calvinist; otherwise, I am Arminian. God does not elect anyone to salvation or damnation. We have the free will to accept of reject Him. I accept the Holy Trinity.

  65. Mike says:

    You say the younger SBC members respect your teetotaller convictions in terms of alcohol. You’re certainly entitled to your opinion. But my read, as a fellow SBC and teetotaller, is that those convictions are not respected and are even disparaged. Much winking and finger – crossing going on among those involved in church planting in order to get money or a job.

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​Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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